More than 700 illegally caught lobsters seized

SFPA preparing file for the DPP after vivier lorry detained in Rosslare
More than 700 illegally caught lobsters seized

Earlier this week, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), acting on information from a member of the public, seized 86 illegally caught lobsters from a recreational fisherman in the South East. Photo: SEPA

More than 700 undersize and illegally caught lobsters have been seized by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA).

A tip-off from a member of the public led the SFPA to find and seize 86 illegally caught lobsters from a recreational fisherman in the south-east. 

A vivier lorry, designed to carry live shellfish in water tanks, was also detained in Rosslare with approximately 6,000 lobsters on board destined for Spain.
Almost 700 of these lobsters were caught illegally. 

All lobsters were returned alive to the sea and the SFPA is preparing a file for the DPP.

Since 2016, legislation to support fisheries and protect marine ecosystems has been in force. 

Under this legislation, recreational or private fishers can catch one lobster daily and are not allowed to sell their catches. 

Shellfish must also be a minimum size to be caught legally in Irish waters by both commercial and recreational fishers.

Lobsters that have been v-notched — where a female lobster's tail has been clipped to warn fishers that she is female and recently spawned — must be returned alive to the water so they can continue to breed. 

However, more than 630 undersize lobsters and almost 60 v-notched lobsters were seized from the lorry. 

Susan Steele: Actions of a few fishermen undermine those operating legitimately.
Susan Steele: Actions of a few fishermen undermine those operating legitimately.

Investigations are underway as to the origin of these fish, which the SFPA believes were collected from the north-west and west of the country, some of which may have originated from the North.

Dr Susan Steele, chair, SFPA, acknowledged the support of the public in alerting the SFPA and encouraged people who have concerns about suspected illegal fishing or activity that could compromise food safety to contact their local SFPA port office. 

“The volume of such a find of undersize lobsters is both significant for the future viability of the fishery and concerning given the scale of the find," said Ms Steele. 

"The fishery for lobster is one of the most traditional fisheries among coastal communities and the mainstay of many small vessels fishing all around the coast of Ireland. 

"The actions of a few fishermen selling undersize and v-notch lobsters undermine the legitimate fishermen trying to maintain a sustainable fishery and livelihood.” 

Call the SFPA confidentially on 1890 76 76 76 or email sfpa_info@sfpa.ie.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox